Dental fillings help preserve the structure of a natural tooth and rid it of decay; proper dentistry, however, sometimes calls for more extensive measures, such as covering the regular tooth with a crown. The situations for getting a crown are varied, but all are related to the degree of decay present within a tooth.
What are Crowns and Fillings?
One of the most common times that we choose crowns over fillings for our patients is when old fillings have reached the end of their lifespan. The word “filling” implies that the repair to the tooth occurs within the tooth’s structure. For fillings to be effective, as much of the surrounding tooth as possible should be retained to support the work. When fillings loosen or leak over time, replacing them with new ones often necessitates additional drilling, thereby enlarging the filled area and ultimately weakening the original tooth. In cases where very large fillings are present, replacing them with crowns is often the better choice to protect the integrity of the remaining tooth structure.
Common Reasons that Crowns are used
Common dentistry procedures also use a crown instead of a filling for an initial repair when more than a third of the tooth surface or a half of the entire tooth must be removed for decay. These percentages are considered maximum guidelines for repairs that utilize a filling. A number of other situations, including root canal procedures, necessitate using crowns for our patients; when molars have an underlying infection in the root system, the tooth structure often becomes brittle when the living nerve is no longer present. In order to have a normal consistency that matches the other teeth, crowns become necessary.
Other situations that call for crowns include fillings present in teeth under the gum line, as these repairs tend to leak and result in recurrent decay. Circumferential decay, which occurs at the gum line and involves more than one tooth surface, is also difficult to fix via fillings and should be crowned. Finally, teeth worn from grinding and clenching also benefit from crowns.
Crowns are incredibly useful, and often very necessary, parts of dentistry. With a good dentist to help patients to decide the best, safest course of action for them, people can enjoy new and improved smiles and better oral health.